I have a question. My daughter is 20 and was in college for one year and has returned home and is attending community college. We had an argument this evening that started with her suggesting I have a glass of wine to be a more relaxed person. She has always told me I am uptight and intense. She says I am not nurturing, that we don't have a family (I have been a single parent for years). Over the years she has always clung to other families and mothers and always told me I am not as good as other mothers and families. I don't understand this as I have supported everything she has ever done. I have been there for advice, comfort, her activities both being there and supporting them in financing them. She rides horses and I have always attended her shows, and paid for all the activities. I supported her college preference and was always there when she called me with problems, I flew her home everytime she was homesick or worried. When she returned home I opened up the house and was there to support her when she was down or had concerns. I guess my question is
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Denikka - posted on 12/23/2012
Just because you physically/financially took care of her, it doesn't mean that you met her emotional needs.
It may sound harsh, but I've lived through what your daughter is complaining of. I lived with my grandparents for most of my life (off and on for the first few years, then permanently when I was 6)
My grandparents always took care of me. My grandmother was my main caregiver. I got fantastic chances to do many different things, we were always going out and doing things. I went through all the levels of swimming lessons, got to get my scuba licence, was involved in archery. They fed me and clothed me, I got lots of presents every birthday and Christmas.
Looking from the outside, I had it great. I had everything. In a lot of ways, I was very spoiled (although I was never a brat). I got good grades, never partied, almost never drank, never did drugs. I was a good kid who got almost everything.
But there was a huge chunk that was missing and I felt it from a very young age. I don`t know if it was because my mother hurt my grandparents so badly (she removed herself from the family, it was NOT on good terms at all), or what (my mother also complains of the same issue that I do, so it may have just been the way my grandma was), but there was always that wall there. I knew she loved me and cared about me. She was always there to wipe away my tears and comfort me when I needed it, things like that. But I never quite FELT that she loved me. There was always a wall. I could never get quite close to her.
It is possible that you may be that type of person too. Even though you may not realize it.
I know my grandmother cared about me, but it didn`t feel like it. Like your daughter, I also sought out other *families* and sought the love that I felt I was missing in other places. I created my own family out of my friends. I loved them dearly and went through devastation when something got between our friendships. When I started having boyfriends, I loved them with my whole heart and threw myself into the relationship. And was destroyed when they ended. I was desperately searching for the open, easy love that I felt I missed from my grandparents. And I got it from my friends and from the boyfriends I had. Even if it was just for a short time.
With my grandma, it always felt like she did what she was supposed to do. She took care of me and did all the things a good parent was supposed to do. But because she was supposed to do it. Not just because she loved me.
It felt more like the Jones who appear perfect to outsiders but the mom is an alcoholic and the dad is having an affair with his secretary and Jonny is taking steroids to pump himself up and Suzy is secretly addicted to crack because she can`t stand how fake her family is.
The appearance is there, everything is in place on the surface, but underneath, there`s things that are broken and missing.
Maybe sit down and talk to your daughter. Let her know, from the heart, that you love her. Even if you may not always show it in the way she wants or needs. It might make a big difference. Maybe you do just need to relax and let your emotions show themselves truthfully and in a raw way.
Denikka - posted on 12/23/2012
For me, I don`t know if I ever really *filled that hole* as you put it. Moving out of the house helped. I also found a wonderful guy (who I moved in with) and we started a family. We now have 2 beautiful kids and one on the way.
I`m not much older than your daughter. Only 23. I`ve been through my share of counselling and soul searching. I think I just came to the realization that that`s just how my grandmother is. She grew up in a different time, with different family values. Her father died when she was young, her mom remarried, but her stepdad didn`t care about the kids. She wasn`t close to her mother or her sister. I personally don`t think she has any frame of reference for those kinds of family bonds. She knows what you`re supposed to do, but has no reference for the deeper, emotional side of things.
Even understanding that, I still feel resentment towards her. I see how *easy* and *natural* it is with my kids, and, being of a different mind frame, I can`t quite *get* my grandma.
We are closer now. I`ve moved quite far away (out of frequent visiting distance, over a 16 hour drive). Having that major distance has really helped. There was a lot of anger while I lived with them. It was not a good relationship in any way. There were frequent fights, arguments over stupid things. Partly teen crap I think, but also partly because I just wanted to push her buttons. Sometimes I just wanted to make her feel hurt and unloved. I can admit that now. I lashed out at her a lot.
It started getting better when I moved out just before my 19th birthday. I had to move back in for a while when I was 21, hubby was out of the province finding work and getting settled, so I stayed with them. And things went right back to how they had been when I was in highschool. Once I moved out of province, things got WAY better. I call frequently and we talk about everything. I still miss that closeness, but it has gotten easier.
Teresa - posted on 12/23/2012
Thank you Denikka. I have thought of that many times. My mother was not emotionally there for me so I have set out on a quest to be there for my daughter. I have been a single parent and her father isn't involved (she feels a big hole there). I am a professional and have had to work to support us but the great thing is that I was able to set my own schedule to be there for her 4 days a week uninterrupted and 3 days a week when necessary as I set my own schedule. I have thought many times that her "love language" is not the same as mine and that no matter all I offer (emotionally and otherwise) isn't matching up with what she needs. I don't know if you have read "The Five Love Languages" I also just last night found a book called "The Emotionally Absent Mother". It is hard for me to imagine that I wasn't there emotionally but it is possible as we all have a different love language. I have talked to her in a raw way and explained to her over the years how much I love her but she just says I'm "faking" my emotions so of course I feel held hostage ie. go right or left I'm never correct. I recently moved back to the city where I was raised to be near family. She moved with me although she was very upset about it. I have always been open to what she wants but this time I wasn't willing to support her financially to stay in the city she was raised in, I felt it was important for her to connect with family and realize all that she had been missing. She has connected with my sister and feels she is someone who understands her. You make a good point and perhaps you are right. I was in counseling when she was a teenager to help me deal with the ups and downs. At that time the counselor said we only have the tools we come out of our family life and that may fall short of what she needs. It just saddens me that I am trying to pin point how to change things and it is so hard. I am willing but not successful so far. She is a great kid and has really only had the ups and downs of typical teenage stuff. I feel I need to fix this otherwise she will possibly end up in abusive situations like you say clinging to people and relationships that are either short lived or possibly not in her best interest. I want to strengthen that bond now and acquaint her with the family who loves her unconditionally before she strikes out totally on her own feeling alone unless she "finds" the right family. How did you finally resolve how you were feeling. What "filled the hole for you"? I am open to all suggestions.
Teresa - posted on 12/23/2012
I guess it is possible. I have been told That by people. I know it cut off and that was weird. My question is "why does she always find a friend with a mother she always claims is so much better than me? Or even many people she is associated with. What am I doing that always falls short when I feel like I am always there for her? What void is there that isn't filled? I'm so glad I found this website because when we have these complex things happen I don't really have a lot of people to ask questions to. I do have a lot of friends but as you know not everyone has a lot of time to talk and sometimes I don't know where to find answers. I guess if I do too much why would she keep saying over the years that these other mothers are so great with each friend she has had. Thank you so much for your post i look forward to having more input and sharing with other moms where I can help with questions they have.
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